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in vivo fluid dynamics means fluid flow in real life complexity. In our lab, we explore the physics and biology of living system’s interaction with fluid environments.


Directional abscission of dandelion seed

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is one of the many species of plants that has successfully leveraged natural wind as their primary driver for seed dispersal. One of the important aspects of the wind-driven dispersal mechanism is how the seed is released, or abscissed, from the plant. In our studies, we explore the effect of the wind direction. 


Interfacial swimming of non-aquatic and aquatic insects

Insects at the air-water interface occupy an interesting flow regime. They swim at moderate Reynolds, Bond, and Weber numbers. Naturally, a rich interaction of fluid force gives rise to complex fluid flows. In this project, we explore the fluid mechanics of swimming terrestrial and aquatic insects at the air-water interface.



Wind-informed pheromone trap

Pheromone traps are ecological scale biosensors that measure and monitor pest populations. It releases pheromones to attract insects and correlate the catch count with the population level. The wind plays a crucial role in convecting and dispersing the pheromone. Thus, by measuring the local wind condition at a sufficiently high resolution, the accuracy of the pheromone trap can potentially be improved.

Funding: USDA-FCF

Collaborators: Dr. Sunghwan (Sunny) Jung, Dr. Brian Nault, Dr. Christophe Duplais, Dr. Jennifer Thaler


Bio-inspired sonar at the air-water interface

Inspired by the whirligig beetles, we are engineering a sonar system using water surface waves. 

Funding: NSF-CMMI

Collaborators: Dr. Daisuke Takagi, Dr. Sunghwan (Sunny) Jung, Dr. Sungyon Lee, Dr. Anupam Pandey



Vortex formation of animal propulsion

Vortex is perhaps the most prevalent and important flow phenomenon. Understanding its formation process offers us insight into the patterns of animal locomotion and improves the propulsion or transport efficiency of engineering devices and vehicles. In this project, we are striving to provide a unifying perspective on diverse vortex formation processes.

Collaborators: Dr. Morteza Gharib


Fluid mechanics of Dragonfly Larvae

Fully aquatic dragonfly larvae constantly surprise us with their hydrodynamic innovations. Their multifunctional modified hindgut pumps water for respiration, propulsion, and predation. In many ways, a baby dragonfly’s biological pump resembles our biological pump, embryonic and adult heart and lung. This intricate pump is controlled by three sets of active valves, whose function remain a mystery.



Extremely fast firing of sea anemone harpoon

Starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis), has an elongated rice-grain-like stinging cell. The mechanism by which the harpoon inside the stinging cell fires is under investigation.

Collaborators: Dr. Leslie Babonis


Dracula fish acoustics

Dracula fish (Danionella dracula) is a transparent tropical fish known to communicate through a swim bladder generated by acoustic signals. In collaboration with Dr. Andy Bass’s group, we are exploring the mechanism of sound generation and transmission and its biological implication.

Collaborators: Dr. Andrew Bass, Sarah Campbell, Dr. Jonathan Perelmuter

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